Some quick fictionalizing

Some older stuff I’d had written already. As good a place as any to put it here and fill some space…

By the end of summer, nobody remembered the Baker kids’ ordeal. The return of the school year lurked around the corner, company cookouts wilted under the July heat, and the Cubs were a solid fifteen games out of the pennant race. In other words, business as usual. Gary Baker looked out the kitchen window and watched the wind play tug of war with the trees. A golden retriever saved the Nelsons across the street the trouble of rearranging their rosebushes and helped fertilize random parts of the lawn at the same time.
“Now your grandpa will be here soon, and as soon as he’s here, I have to get to my plane. Okay Jennie?”
Jennie Baker nodded, watching him through cornflower blue eyes and auburn bangs. She went back to her pancakes, spreading more syrup on her face with each bite. She’d never had much luck with motor skills, but her command of them was improving after every week at alternative school. Gary knew she was just playing today, aware of her advancing abilities and showing them off.
“I messy,” she said. Then she took another bite, no problems. “Now clean. I clean.”
Gary mussed her hair and sighed looking away at the corner of the kitchen where a tiny fly bounced from one spot on the wall to the next, looking for a way out.


The floor creaked as Henry Mason shifted his weight. The only light, that from a street lamp near the window, cast a long shadow of Henry’s slender frame against the wall. He took a drag off his cigarette and tensed, hearing shuffling behind him. The noise stopped when he tilted his head slightly, and he exhaled, letting his hand drop to his side.
He rubbed a fresh scratch on his forearm which he thought might be deep enough to leave a scar. Another souvenir. Another reminder. He’d been having too many struggles lately. Too many scrapes. He’d have to be more careful, he told himself. He never wanted any trouble, but he had to hide up in the long-forgotten house, avoiding the places they might find him.
He heard the shuffling again behind him and spun to face the noise. The switchblade flew open and he stabbed. The house echoed with the sound of falling weight collapsing to the floor.
Even hearing the approaching sirens, he stood still, breathing slowly through his nose. Henry grinned looking at the bound wrists and the growing pool reflecting part of the street lamp’s beam.
“Mother had always liked you best.”


Climbing upstairs, I saw the door open, a thin slit revealing the void within. It slammed shut and the sound echoed down the hallway.
I stood, poised, fist raised but unable to announce my prescence. I sighed. Useless. Why bother? Every day I tried to speak, every day I stopped. It was the same pattern that put me in this position in the first place. Want, hope, stop. Hesitate. Lose. And then the hurting started again.
I couldn’t take it. I turned back.
I knocked.
“We really should talk.”


~ by Michael Engel on February 3, 2007.

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